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Showing posts from January, 2014

Book Review: Savvy by Ingrid Law

Mibs is about to turn thirteen. This is a pretty big event for any kid, but for a Beaumont, it's a much bigger deal. At thirteen, Beaumont kids get their savvy ~ that special, unique quality that has a profound effect on the rest of their life. Mibs' brother Rocket has the power to conduct electricity. Her other brother Fish controls water and storms. Mibs is excited to discover her own savvy. But then her dad is in an accident just two days before her birthday, and everything gets messed up!

In Savvy by Ingrid Law, we are introduced to Mibs and her family, as well as two of the minister's kids who end up on an unexpected adventure with the Beaumont kids. Mibs is determined to make her way to the hospital where her father is recovering from his accident. She jumps aboard a pink bus, driven by a bible-seller, and the rest of the kids find themselves along for the ride.

I don't usually read science fiction novels, but this was one of the books my son read for Battle of …

Week in Review & Read-a-Thon

Good morning. I hope you had a wonderful week! We had a nice one, although it was a bit too cold. I have a hard time complaining, since our cold here in North Carolina is nothing compared to much of the continent, but it's still cold for us!!! C's tennis match was cancelled once again, this time for extreme cold temps. Now he has four tennis matches to make up. That's from an 8-week season that was supposed to have ended on Saturday. Crazy! So much for winter tennis in North Carolina!

Anyway, reading and reviewing has gone pretty well this past week. I'll start with my blog posts.

Blog Posts and Reviews

I reviewed A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. This was the first book I read from C's Battle of the Books list. I'm starting with the books for which he is an "expert" on his team. I loved this book and highly recommend it. Check out my review by clicking on the title.

I also read and reviewed The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman. This was another …

Bloggiesta - Finish Line

I'm so excited to have gotten so much done on my blog is just one day!! Here's a list of what I accomplished today during the mini Bloggiesta!

1. Finished adding all of my 2013 reviews to my Reviews page. Check it out!!

2. Added a list of my favorite books to my Books Read in 2013 page.

3. Cleaned up my sidebar and add a Goodreads widget for books read in 2014.

4. Wrote two reviews and my Week in Review post that will publish tomorrow morning.


5. Cleaned up my blog email, creating a book reviews folder and adding some automatic filters so emails from certain people will go straight to that folder.

6. Created a template post for monthly updates, so I will actually have time to write monthly recaps this year!

7. Completed The "Basics" Mini Challenge.

I'm so glad I took the time to participate today! Yay!

Book Review: The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman

Judy, Brenton, Snickwad and Kelsey are all in the same class but they aren't friends. They're all very different. But when their teacher puts them all together in a group, they become friends because of a secret: The Homework Machine!

This book by Dan Gutman is a lot of fun. Here's what my 9 year old, C, thinks about it:

I like that it was written from the point of view of several different people. They were all being interviewed by the police. It was about a group of people who didn't want to do homework, so they were all using the homework machine to do their homework. Brenton invented it over the summer. He didn't have any friends at all. So when the other kids in his group got interested, he let them use it.

I thought it was a good book. I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but I didn't like that there wasn't much action in it. I would recommend it to my friends because it was a good book overall, and I know some of them don't like homew…

Bloggiesta - Cleaning Up the Blog

I'm pretty sure I'm the last one signing up for this winter's mini Bloggiesta, seeing as it started on Friday!!! But I stumbled upon the Twitter chat last night and since I have several things I'd like to clean up on my blog, I figured I might as well get to it! Even if I do only have about half a day left.

So, here's what I'll be working on this afternoon and evening:

1. Finish adding all of my 2013 reviews to my Reviews page. **DONE

2. Add to my Books Read in 2013 page to include a list of my favorite books from last year. **DONE

3. Clean up my sidebar and add a Goodreads widget for books read in 2014. **DONE

4. Write two reviews. **1 DONE; 1 TO GO!

5. Clean up my blog email, creating folders and maybe some automatic filters that will make it less cumbersome to keep up with! **DONE

6. Create a template post for monthly updates, so I will actually have time to write monthly recaps this year! **DONE

7. Complete The "Basics" Mini Challenge. **DONE

I t…

Book Review: A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

In 2008 Sudan, Nya's primary responsibility is to fetch water. Twice a day, she walks for miles to the watering hole where she collects water for her family. She carries the heavy container home, only to return for a second time so they have enough water to survive. In 1985 Sudan, Salva is at school when he is forced to flee the war and is separated from his family. He embarks on a journey that will take him to Ethiopia, Kenya and eventually the United States.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is a middle-grade novel based on a true story of one of the "Lost Boys of Sudan." Salva was one of thousands of young men in a Kenyan refugee camp chosen to go to America and be adopted into a family there. But before he made it to America, Salva spent years walking to safety. At first, he walks across Sudan to Ethiopia with a group of people that he fears will leave him behind since he is so young. Later, he leads a group of boys to Kenya where many find salvation.

Salva'…

Week in Review

Last week started off great with a trip to Meredith College to hear Sue Monk Kidd speak about her new book, The Invention of Wings. She is a wonderful speaker so if you get a chance to attend her book tour, I highly recommend you do so.

As far as reading goes, I finished reading Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith, which is my book club's January selection. I'm looking forward to next week's discussion. You can click on the link to read my review.

I also read A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, a middle grade book that C read for Battle of the Books. Our review will be up later this week.

Next up is another Battle book, The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman. I'm hoping to work my way through all of them over the next couple weeks.

Last week, C read The Homework Machine, which is the last of his Battle of the Books selections. His team has split up the books and he an expert for five of them, so he'll be re-reading them as he prepares for the battle at the end of …

Book Review: Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith

Ivy Rowe, born at the turn of the 20th century, lives in the mountains of Virginia and loves to write letters. Ivy writes to her family and her friends throughout her life. And it is through these letters that we get a glimpse into what life was like in this rural area of the country, and how progress in the first half of the century changed the lives of Ivy and those she loved.

Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith was chosen as my book club's January selection, and I have to admit I wasn't thrilled. I read an excerpt of the book on Amazon and thought the dialect would bother me. But I ended up really enjoying the book. The dialect was a bit distracting at the beginning, but as Ivy grows older she actually begins to write in a more proper way. Besides that, Ivy and her story drew me in.

It begins with Ivy as a little girl writing to a penpal. She tells of her life in the mountains of Virginia and of her family, which includes her mom and dad and several siblings, and life on th…

Week in Review

Since my last Week in Review, I've managed to get some reading done and a bit of blogging. Not much, yet, but I have plans!! We are getting back into the swing of work and school since winter break ended. The kids are finishing up their second quarter, and for me, work is a bit crazy as we work toward supporting an upcoming announcement. But overall, things are going well and I'm making time for reading.

I wrote up my 2014 Plans post where I outlined some of my goals for the year. If anyone knows of a challenge that's about reading more from authors we've enjoyed, let me know. That's one of my big goals this year!

I also wrote a review of what I expect will be one of my favorites of 2014, even though it was my first read for the year: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. And can you believe it?! I wrote the review a day after I finished reading it! That was a nice way to start the year!

I'm now reading Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith, which is my book …

Book Review: The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

When Sarah Grimke turns 11 years old, her mother gives her a very special birthday gift: her very own slave, 10 year-old Handful. But Sarah is an unusual Southern girl who abhors slavery, even at her young age. She tries to refuse the gift, but her mother forces her to accept it. So she takes Handful as her handmaid, and they form a unique relationship that lasts a lifetime.

In The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd tells the story of these two fascinating women by alternating between their voices; each chapter is from one perspective and they alternate throughout the book. Each woman longs to break free of the societal boundaries that hold her. Handful wants to be free of slavery, of course. But Sarah also desires to be free of what binds her. She has always wanted to do more than find a husband and run a household. She wants to be educated and have a profession, as only men do in the early 1800's.

Kidd does an amazing job of showing the realities of the boundaries that women and…

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope you've enjoyed the holiday season. It's hard to believe it's 2014 now.

I'm hoping to get more into the swing of things here on the blog in the new year. My first step is to spend some time cleaning up the blog itself: updating the My Reviews tab, creating a Books Read in 2013 tab, cleaning up the links in the right column. I need to look and see when the next Bloggiesta is coming up!!

I'm also starting to make some plans for the new year, so I figured I'd share them. Perhaps that will help me to actually stick to them!

1. Read more children's books
First off, I plan to focus more on children's books this year. As my regular readers know, my son is participating in a Battle of the Books at his school, and I'd really like to read all of the books he's reading for that. So I'll be focusing on those books during this month and next.

I also may use this goal of reading more children's books to finally get to the Harry P…